Mathematical Biology Research
In the summer of 2016, Jennifer Young was awarded the Clare Boothe Luce Undergraduate Summer Research Award. She spent the summer conducting research with Professor Nicolette Meshkat on parameter identifiability. Parameter identifiability is an area of mathematical biology concerned with finding which unknown parameters of a model can be determined from given input-output data. Professor Meshkat and Jennifer use algebraic tools to approach such problems. Jennifer wrote a program in Mathematica to test for identifiability of certain classes of linear compartment models. She then came up with a conjecture for which linear compartment models of certain classes are identifiable in general. In March of 2017, Jennifer presented her results at a poster session at the MAA Golden Section Meeting and spoke at the Northern California Undergraduate Mathematics Conference.
In summer 2017, she continued conducting mathematics research with Professor Meshkat on indistinguishability of linear compartment models, a related problem to identifiability that also utilizes techniques from algebra and graph theory. She added features to her Mathematica program to test for indistinguishability and found a class of linear compartment models which are indistinguishable. Jennifer also started a new research project with Professor Michelle McCully in the Department of Biology. She was awarded the DeNardo Science Scholars Fellowship for her project using molecular dynamics simulations to study protein thermostability. She works in the McCully Lab during the academic year and is interested in interdisciplinary research problems that incorporate biology, mathematics, and computer science.